Sean O'Shaughnessey on May 4th, 2016
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Apple (AAPL: 95.18 +0.00 +0.00%), the totemic icon of high-tech’s promise of eternal growth, reports its first revenue decline in 13 years. The Eurozone is back from the brink. The U.S. economy may not be.

And let’s not forget the dollar, which just finished its worst week against the yen since 2008. Or the Dow Jones industrial average, which turned in its worst performance since “the February freakout,” as CNNMoney artfully put it.

Optimists like Gavyn Davies acknowledge that the world economy is underperforming its long-term average for the third year running, but Davies wrote in the Financial Times on Sunday, “Global growth is somewhat better, especially in the emerging economies.” He headlined his blog, “Fading risks of global recession.”

And Robert Shiller, a Yale economics professor, says what you and I think matters. “Recessions aren’t caused merely by concrete changes in the markets,” Shiller argued in The New York Times on Sunday. “Beliefs and stories passed on by thousands of individuals are important factors, maybe even the main ones, in determining big shifts in the economy.”

Shiller suggests there’s more to economic wisdom than statistics will ever give us. If he’s right, we had better pay attention to what we see and what we hear.

I doubt anyone can say with certainty whether or not we’re in for another global recession. But it seems perfectly certain that it will depend on decisions taken soon.

The global economy has been given all there is to get out of low to negative interest rates, and it’s necessary to stimulate one way or another. Now the moment’s upon us: It’s time to stop talking and take the steps.

Economists, policy planners, and politicians will all have something to say. It’s the last we should worry about most, given that ideological preconceptions have been so prominently on display in Washington, London, Brussels, and nearly everywhere you look.

Source: If Consumers Don’t Open Their Wallets, We’re In for Another Recession | The Fiscal Times

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Sean O'Shaughnessey on May 3rd, 2016
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Sean O'Shaughnessey on May 2nd, 2016
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Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN: 671.32 +0.00 +0.00%) delivered its most profitable quarter ever, topping last year’s record holiday period, thanks to surging sales from its lucrative cloud-computing business.

Despite a persistent reputation as a profit miser, Amazon turned in its fourth straight moneymaking quarter and expanded margins in its core retail business, as well as the Amazon Web Services division that rents computing power to other companies.

Superlatives abound: Its 28% sales growth was the highest since the second quarter of 2012, while its operating margin of 3.7% was its best in more than five years.

The cash cow driving these figures is AWS, a decade-old operation that pioneered the business of hosting computer servers for companies like Netflix Inc. (NFLX: 91.54 +0.00 +0.00%) and the Central Intelligence Agency. AWS has become the go-to provider for a generation of startups, government agencies and other corporations seeking to offload computing power to Amazon’s thousands of servers.

The cloud division’s sales rose 64% to $2.57 billion. While that is less than one-tenth of Amazon’s overall revenue, AWS generated about 67% of the company’s operating income in the quarter.

In other words, AWS is supporting Amazon’s sprawling, 20-year-old business that spends billions of dollars in an effort to upend traditional brick-and-mortar retail by providing customers nearly everything imaginable in as quickly as one hour.

Source: Cloud Unit Pushes Amazon to Record Profit

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Sean O'Shaughnessey on May 2nd, 2016
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It’s still your job, not the government’s, to protect your retirement savings.

Under new rules imposed by the Department of Labor, anyone being paid to provide specific investment advice on retirement accounts must do the right thing for his or her clients.

While the regulations are likely to reduce costs and improve returns for many savers and retirees, they raise a new risk: That investment salespeople will use the term “fiduciary” as marketing magic.

By law, a fiduciary must be impartial, seek diligently to avoid conflicts of interest, disclose any remaining conflicts and always serve the best interests of clients. Until now, only registered investment advisers — not most stockbrokers and insurance agents — have had to be fiduciaries. From now on, all of them will be when they get paid for specific investment advice on retirement accounts.

But the new rules don’t oblige stockbrokers and insurance agents to act in your best interest on your other investments. Nor do the regulations prevent these salespeople from calling themselves “financial advisers” when they aren’t registered as investment advisers.

Confused? You aren’t alone. In an online survey of nearly 500 investors last month, 51% said — incorrectly — that brokers must always act as fiduciaries. Only 44% correctly said that about investment advisers.

Now that just about everyone getting paid to handle a retirement account must act as a fiduciary, it’s up to investors to ensure that he or she behaves like one.

A fiduciary is, literally, someone in whom you place faith — and that kind of confidence ought to go down to the bone.

Personally, as the author of The Confident Investor, I suggest that you don't use a financial adviser. Read my book and follow the simple logic there. You can purchase my book wherever books are sold such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books A Million. It is available in e-book formats for Nook, Kindle, and iPad.

Source: You Are Responsible For Your Retirement Savings - MoneyBeat - WSJ

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Sean O'Shaughnessey on May 1st, 2016
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10 ways to fall asleep on a plane

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Sean O'Shaughnessey on April 30th, 2016
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